If you have recently been told that your child has an autism spectrum disorder, it's time to start focusing on therapy appointments and counseling sessions to help him or her master core skills. The sooner your child takes part in these interventions, the greater his or her chances are of overcoming some of the common spectrum challenges. Here's a look at the most common therapies to help your child.
Kids on the autism spectrum often need behavioral therapies. These address appropriate behavioral responses to situations. Most behavioral therapy also devotes time to teaching kids on the spectrum about inappropriate behaviors and the consequences that kids can expect from those behaviors. Most behavioral therapists will develop a plan that uses active behavioral training. This means that your child may be given a specific behavior to focus on and a reward plan such as stickers, computer time or other positive reinforcement when those behaviors are correct.
This works well for kids on the spectrum because it gives them an active role in their treatment and their own behaviors. One challenge for kids on the spectrum is properly applying advice and instructions from others. Positive reinforcement like this is key for those on the spectrum because it provides them with a clear motivation to learn and implement these changes.
Developmental therapy is used to instruct kids on the spectrum about life skills and self-care. These skills are taught through a therapy program that is done in stages. That means that it starts with the basic fundamentals of self-care and grooming, then moves to more complex tasks like cooking, independent living. and other necessities. These treatments are typically reinforced by your actions at home, where you're encouraged to let your child practice the developmental skills that they are working on.
For example, kids who are learning how to cook or keep up with household chores may be encouraged to do their own cleaning and chores around the house. Children who struggle with social interactions may be encouraged to go through social skill role playing with you and your spouse. This encourages eye contact, conversation, and mutual play.
Autism spectrum disorders vary widely in degrees of their severity. For some kids, these therapies may not be necessary. For others, years of intense therapy and home support are necessary. With a team of skilled mental health counselors (such as one from Lincoln Psychiatric Group) and family participation, you can help your child learn the core skills necessary to succeed and overcome many of the challenges of a spectrum disorder.